Prioritisation workshop on the health values of natural environments for decision making

20150828_162906Join us for a prioritisation workshop on the health values of natural environments for decision making

26th October from 10:30am to 5pm at Defra, Nobel House, Westminster, London.

**Final few places remaining**

For more information please contact Becca Lovell

The aim of the workshop is to collaboratively identify, discuss and prioritise effective strategies and opportunities to embed health values of natural environments in future decision making with particular reference to health inequalities. The result of the workshop will be used to develop a set of prioritised proposals to be presented to Defra.

Whilst there is cross-departmental and -sectorial recognition of the value of natural environments in promoting and sustaining good health and wellbeing there is clearly still scope to build on existing policy and practice to realise the potential. The meeting represents an important opportunity to potentially inform thinking and activity as the government considers a 25 year plan for the environment. The workshop will bring together a core group of key health and environment professionals from across the system (policy, practice and research) to represent the range of perspectives, experiences and contextual needs.

Background to the meeting

Multiple examples of innovative and promising activity have developed (see, for example, Public Health Outcomes 1.16, the Birmingham Green Living Spaces Plan and the Branching Out programme). There is also, arguably, a supportive context within both a) the health system, with the Social Value Act, Localism agenda and concerns around sustainable development and the ‘triple bottom line’, and b) the environmental sector, with initiatives such as the Local Nature Partnerships’ links with Health and Wellbeing Boards and the recent Nature and Wellbeing act from the Wildlife Trusts.

However, despite these encouraging indicators, it appears there still are barriers to consistent and sustained action, with many examples of good ideas struggling to secure cross-sectoral support and pilot projects failing to gain traction over the longer term. We are, therefore, at an interesting point in time; there is clearly tangible enthusiasm yet relatively little sustained coherent activity, there are opportunities to influence developing policy and practice but difficulties in knowing what to focus on (prevention, promotion or therapeutic approaches), and there is a strengthening evidence base but questions around extent, transferability, and how to articulate uncertainty.

Through bringing together experts from across the sectors involved we have an opportunity to consider key questions such as:

  • How useful and relevant is existing evidence and what evidence (or data) is missing? How can the translation and communication of evidence of value be supported?
  • In times of limited resource is there value in focusing efforts on preventative health, therapeutic approaches and/or health promotion? Where are we likely to see the greatest gain?
  • In what ways can meaningful inter-sectorial activity be encouraged and facilitated?
  • What can be learnt from other initiatives such as the What Works centres and the NEXUS programme?
  • Does leadership need to come from the top down (e.g. national policy) and/or build from grass-roots initiatives?

For more information please contact Becca Lovell

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